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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Call me Mister Logan

Happy Halloween from all of us here at Learn Me Good!

Since last year, at the last minute, they suggested that the teachers at my school dress up for Halloween, I figured there was a good chance we would be dressing up again this year. However, we were informed yesterday that there is one child who practices a religion (the administration was uncertain of which) that cannot tolerate costumes. Therefore, no one was allowed to dress up today during the school day.

However, at the staff meeting yesterday, we were told that in March, we would be having a day to dress up as our favorite book character. Now please don't ask me to explain how dressing up for Halloween violates a person's theological beliefs, but dressing up in early March does not. I guess it's probably the same reason that some people think that Harry Potter books indoctrinate kids into the Wiccan religion. Yeah, and reading Superman comic books will teach kids how to fly...

So anyway, I decided to come home and dress up anyway; now that I have a house I actually have trick-or-treaters.

And I just now turned off the porch light. All out of individually wrapped slices of processed cheese, kids! Just kidding, I had good stuff. And let me just say that now I completely understand the looks my friends and I used to get from people when we trick- or-treated -- as seniors in high school. I felt like I ought to put a sign up that says, "Management reserves the right to discriminate, based on lack of costume." I had to bite my tongue a couple of times not to shout out, "EFF for effort!"

For the most part, my X-Men costume went over well. But one girl called me "that guy from the Matrix" -- the Matrix?!? Did that guy from the Matrix wear pencils on his hands? Come on people!

As for the favorite book character, I'm open to suggestions. I should mention that I'm 6 foot four, and even though I do have a lightning bolt-shaped vein on one temple, I am way too large to be Harry Potter, and ditto for Frodo Baggins or Stuart Little.

Right now, I think I'm leaning towards Pennywise the clown...

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Tattle me this, Batman

In case I haven't mentioned it, my class this year is extremely immature. I've never had so many kids that still suck their thumbs, display a total lack of listening skills, and repeatedly do the same things over and over and over again, despite being told not to.

And we can't forget to add tattling to that list. Sure, tattling in grade school is like the kilt in Scotland -- ever present, but never welcome -- but I have one little girl this year that takes things to the extreme.

This little girl is constantly tattling about someone or something. And apparently, to anyone who will listen. A few weeks ago, her class was entering the cafeteria for lunch, and I exited through the other cafeteria door, behind her class, so she was not aware that I was standing there. I actually witnessed her tattle on one of her classmates to some random woman walking down the hall. Probably some poor second-grader's mother, just minding her own business, suddenly accosted by a little girl claiming, "Excuse me, Miss, he just hit me!" Of course, this random woman was able to do what I always wish I COULD do. She kept her eyes straight ahead, and just kept on walking.

Now if I could just convince her to tattle to inanimate objects, such as the water fountain or the eraser on her pencil, then maybe I could save all of us a lot of grief.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

D.A.R.E--Drugs Affect Recent Eyesight

Today was certainly somewhat of a beating of a day. Here I am, all set and prepared to give my students the gift that is the knowledge of perimeter and area, but the schedule got upset by interruptions.

Nevermind the fact that it rained all day long, so there was no outdoor recess. I can live with that. Sure, the kids get cabin fever and act like they don't know right from left, up from down, or isotropic from anisotropic. But then I lost about an hour of class time due to two requests.

Yesterday, one of the school counselors told me that she needed to do a counseling session with my class, and oh, and it needed to be on Wednesday. I love it when they give me lead time. So Mrs. Educator and I put both of our classes together in her room so that the counselor could talk to them about drugs. Let me tell you, if you've never heard a woman with an Indian accent so strong it makes Gandhi sound Texan, reading a book called The House That Crack Built -- well neighbor, you just ain't lived.

It was pretty amusing to hear the responses that the counselor got when she asked the kids to name some illegal drugs. Among those listed were beer, wine, cocaine, spinach, and weed. Good to know that these kids know the technical terms. As for spinach, I think the kid has been watching too much Popeye. You KNOW they would never allow Popeye to play Major-League Baseball -- too much of that illegal substance, spinach.

The truly unexpected interruption today came in the form of vision and hearing tests. I had to take my class to the room where they were performing these tests, and it took about half an hour. Very interesting how the kids can hear the little beep that tells them to raise their hand, and yet somehow they don't hear me when I tell them to get their books out...

And so, thanks to a vision chart and The House That Crack Built, we only covered perimeter today and did not get around to area. Maybe tomorrow we'll try to figure out the square footage of a Schlitz.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Put your head between your knees...

Monday Monday, just can't trust that day. Aside from the fact that we can always trust it to come bearing another lengthy staff meeting.

Our principal has decided this year that instead of one monthly staff meeting, we would have a staff meeting every single week. Hey, why not? If one meeting can bring so much joy to the faculty, think how much four (and sometimes five!) could produce!

At last week's meeting, we were all given a document roughly the size of the Greater Chicago phone directory and told to memorize it. Actually, we weren't tasked with committing it to memory, but we are responsible for knowing the details. It is the latest version of the Campus Crisis Plan. So at today's meeting, we reviewed it.

The crisis plan is supposed to tell us what to do in case a crazed gunman or some bomb-toting maniac wanders into the school. Basically, we lock the doors, pull the blinds, and cower beneath our desks. Oh, and we are also supposed to slide a green laminated sign under our door into the hallway, telling everyone that we are A-OK. Not surprisingly, many of us were wondering just who was going to see that sign, if we were all locked in our rooms. Are we putting out the sign for the benefit of the maniac stocking the halls? If so, should it really be the green sign, or the red "all is NOT OK" laminated sign? Or do we just slide out the green one, and then once the maniac starts trying to break down our door, slide out the red one -- real subtle-like?

In order to test our new knowledge, we played a mock version of Jeopardy. Hopefully, I am not the only one who sees the irony in this.

The real downer of the story is that I now have to slog through 6 1/2 more days until the next rapturous staff meeting...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Time's up

Well, the two-week Learn Me Good giveaway has come to a close. Thanks to everyone who expressed an interest, and thank you especially to Ruth from Great Britain, who has already posted her review on
I look forward to reading the reviews from everyone else who received a copy!

Have a super fantastic week!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Learn Me Good, for free!

For the next 2 weeks (Oct. 9-Oct 23), I am making my debut novel, Learn Me Good, available for FREE as an electronic download in order to get it out to more people and spread the word.

If you would like a free copy of Learn Me Good, just send me an email at requesting your copy. I will then email it to you. In return, I only ask that you read it and post a review on and (you could cut and paste the same review). And of course, recommend it to friends if you like it!

To read more about it, go to

Friday, October 06, 2006

A few of my favorite numbers

Ahh, let's start with 3, as in 3-Day Weekend, which is what I am enjoying right now. Today is Fair Day, so we have no school--can't beat that!
As for the rest of my topic, i'm talking the boob tube. No, not Numb3rs, I really don't think much of that show (Terrorists are attacking the local Taco Bell? Let's apply Chalupa Maximization Theory to devise a plan to foil them!) But 3 shows are starting this week that I have been looking forward to all summer.
The first, of course, is Lost, with its magical numbers 4 8 15 16 23 42 (and of course 108). We had the 3rd season premiere on Wednesday, and it was great! An awesome opening full of promise, and full of Kate, which makes it that much better! Now if they would just bring back the science teacher who blowed up...
Secondly, the series premiere of The Nine, also by JJ Abrams, who does Lost. This was a very cool show, and has a lot of potential. Can't wait to see how it develops.
And finally, the last number on my list is Number Six, the ultra-hot humanoid Cylon on Battlestar Galactica, which opens the third season tonight on Sci Fi. Thye jumped forward in time about 2-4 years at the end of last season (hopefully NOT jumping any sharks along the way), and it should be very interesting to see how things pick up.
So if you need me over the weekend, I'll be propped up in front of the TV, enjoying all the math going on!!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

GOOOOOOOOOOOOD Morning, Dallas!!!

It’s my class’s turn to do the morning announcements, starting tomorrow. I have to send two kids – one to do a short announcement about the word of the week, and the other to read something about the character trait of the week. Of course, these are announcements that I write myself then have the kids read.

The word of the week is “Inferno.” I was tempted to write this as the initial announcement:

“Hello, my name is Generic Student from Mister Teacher’s class. The word of the week is inferno. In the literary classic, Dante’s Inferno, the 9th circle of Hell was reserved for slacker teachers who don’t get to wear blue jeans on Fridays. Thank you.”

But, I decided against that. I just wrote something simple, though I am going to have the boy finish with the statement, “Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.”

I was also discussing with Mrs. Educator the potential for humor vs. potential for punishment ratio if I were to have one of my kids approach the public address system and say,

“Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

Most of the kids would probably not get it, but I’ll bet the teachers would get a laugh…

Sunday, October 01, 2006

No more Speedos

In the Dallas ISD, summer dress code has officially come to an end. Starting tomorrow, we will no longer be allowed to wear polos or golf shirts. From now on, men must wear panty hose, women must wear neckties.

I MIGHT have that backwards...